NEW ORLEANS — It's too early to get mad.
The Lakers are 3-4, not 1-6, and hold quality victories over the Clippers and Houston.
But Coach Mike D'Antoni noticed something that irritated him Friday. There was no hustle, no bustle from his team in a 96-85 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
"Maybe fat and happy from [beating Houston]. I have no idea," he said. "We talked about it at halftime. But they just settled into a kind of mediocrity and that's where we're at right now.
"We're where we are and we deserve to be there. Let's see if we can get better."
They couldn't get much worse against New Orleans (3-3).
Pau Gasol had nine points on three-for-12 shooting. The team scored 37 points in the second half. The reserves were pretty quiet, scoring 23 points on eight-for-23 shooting (34.8%).
Even Jordan Farmar felt like he needed to take some of the blame.
"I was god-awful in the second half tonight and we can't afford that," he said after finishing with 10 points on three-for-nine shooting and three turnovers.
The Lakers committed 14 turnovers, an apparent step in the right direction after a sublimely poor 24 against Houston.
Not in D'Antoni's eyes.
"I don't think we moved quick enough to lose the ball. You have to hustle a little bit," he quipped.
Heat on Howard
Lakers fans oscillated into "like" territory in their love-hate relationship with TNT analyst Charles Barkley.
Barkley was fearless in his past criticism of the Lakers, but he hammered Dwight Howard on Thursday night.
He wasn't alone.
Fellow TNT analyst Steve Kerr was similarly unimpressed with Howard, saying his off-season work with Hakeem Olajuwon had "not paid off yet" and the 10-year veteran was still a work in progress despite being "a long way into his career."
The Lakers might be lucky to have not signed Howard, 27, to a five-year, $118-million deal, Kerr said.
"In the long run, it's going to be best for the Lakers. I don't think they were going to be able to build a championship team with Howard and his huge contract," he said.
Barkley called the Rockets' half-court offense "horrible" and said Howard still didn't know how to post up after watching him in the Lakers' 99-98 victory Thursday in Houston.
"He just holds his hand up and says, 'Throw me the ball.' He doesn't use any leg action," Barkley said.
The New Orleans mayor and the Pelicans' owner gave retiring NBA Commissioner David Stern a framed jersey with his name on the back during a timeout in Friday's game.
Before you could wonder if the Lakers would do the same, you realized the answer (Chris Paul, vetoed trade, no way).
Twitter: @Mike_BresnahanCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times